Personal Branding: Be Your Own Brand
I can’t stress enough the importance of being branded in today’s world. Many people make the mistake of thinking that branding is only for marketing managers and entrepreneurs. It’s crucial both for them and for unemployed job hunters, students and anybody seeking their place on the market. With the meteoric rise of social media, everyone has the means and tools for branding. But, before other people can discover your qualities, you first need to discover them yourself.
Don’t let me be misunderstood
Your brand is who you are, what you stand for, and what you have to offer to others. If you don’t want to be misunderstood and leave your reputation to chance, build and manage your own image. This task differs from ad campaigns and mission statements, but there are some underlying similarities.
A good place to start and a milestone of your branding mission is a mantra. It should be simple, but memorable, straightforward and catchy. Think about your personality, skills and emotional appeal, and start with a list of words best describing them. You can also ask your friends and family members to do it for you.
When you narrow the list down, try to describe and define what it is that you do, or plan to do. The result should be a phrase or a sentence that represents your brand mantra. If it doesn’t feel inspiring and engaging to you, it will probably fail to impress other people as well.
Hitting the mark
The next step is to identify your target audience in order to position your brand in the best way possible. Ask yourself who the people that need to know about you are. Keep your friends and potential customers and partners close, but analyze the competition as well. You can learn a lot by following other people’s successful strategies.
Another reason to do this is to differentiate yourself from the legions of other personal brands. One of the main things to consider is what online platform you will use for promotion. Both everyday Joes and business leaders in the making can use social media to reach a broad audience, so you need to pick a tool that is most likely to hit the mark.
Remember that your social network profile can tell more about you than you think. Sometimes, every like, share, post and tweet counts. Thus, youngsters and students should try to get serious, instead of posting their favorite music videos and cracking jokes all day.
Every time you interact with other people, you build your own reputation both in the real and digital world. Employers today like to Google people before inviting them to an interview. In fact, more than a billion names are Googled every day, and unless you have been living under a rock, yours has been too.
Not everyone’s name is shown in the search results, however, and if that is your case, it’s like you don’t even exist in the online world. To boost your digital presence, you should create profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
This is only a first step, as you need to optimise them for search engines. With your mantra chosen, you already have some keywords and phrases in mind. Lastly, keep in mind that Google rewards original and quality content, so give them and the audience what they crave for.
Two sides of the same coin
All your branding efforts won’t be worth a dime if you don’t set solid foundations. They must be defined having your values, interests, beliefs, and traits in mind. Uncover your personal brand, and keep in mind that recruiters are scanning social networks for people who stand out and offer a breath of fresh air. You and your brand are the same entity and share the same fate, however bitter or grand it might be.
In a way, developing a personal brand is a means of ensuring that you leave a legacy. People will remember you through your expertise, knowledge, the content that you create and the value that you bring! If you are like everyone else in your industry, then you’re just another a commodity, and you look the same to the customer as all the other options. If your target market discerns nothing special about you, it’s easy for the customer to pass you by.
Differentiation is crucial to your personal branding success!